Sharon Fairley (J.D. ’06) recently announced her candidacy for Illinois attorney general, joining a growing list of Democratic candidates seeking nomination next March.
Fairley said her wide range of experiences help make her the ideal next attorney general. Right after graduating from law school, she served as assistant attorney general in the Criminal Appeals section under the office of the current Illinois attorney general, Lisa Madigan. Fairley also worked for eight years as a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, where she focused on criminal justice. Most recently, she was the chief administrator of Chicago's Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
Fairley’s platform consists of three overarching themes. Building on her experience with criminal justice work, Fairley would like to reform the current criminal justice and police systems, citing lack of police accountability and overincarceration as two problems she would like to tackle. Additionally, she would like to fight Trump administration policies that she believes are harmful to Illinois residents, especially ones relating to DACA, voting rights, and affirmative action. Finally, Fairley would like to address several issues surrounding sexual assault, women's reproductive rights, consumer protection, and more.
After graduating from Princeton University with an S.B. in mechanical and aerospace engineering, Fairley decided that she wanted a career that would let her use both her creative and analytical skills, which led her to law school. “I wanted to dedicate my life to public service and working to deliver justice from the inside out,” Fairley told The Maroon. Fairley remembers her time at the Law School fondly, saying that the environment was very engaging and full of passion.